The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into Exxon Mobil Corp. after an employee filed a complaint last fall alleging that the energy giant overestimated one of its most important oil and gas properties, according to insiders.
Several people involved in valuing a key asset in the Permian Basin, currently the highest oil field in the United States, complained during an internal assessment in 2019 that employees were forced to use unrealistic assumptions about how quickly the company could to drill wells there of higher value, according to a copy of the complaint reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
At least one of the employees who complained was fired last year, according to an acquaintance. Earlier, the newspaper reported that there were internal disagreements over the assessment.
The SEC has launched an investigation into the claims after receiving the complaint, insiders said. The current status of the investigation is unknown. An SEC spokesman declined to comment.
Exxon spokeswoman Casey Norton declined to comment on the existence of an investigation. He said that if asked by the authorities for the 201